Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Written by The Independent Staff

20110720-finds-0101A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT
Battered by hurricanes but buttressed by culture for more than 250 years, Vermilion Parish might just be, as its hospitality industry boasts, “the most Cajun place on earth.” Lafayette attorney, historian and cultural preservationist Warren Perrin offers a pictorial tour of his native parish’s rich history in Vermilion Parish, Arcadia Publishing’s new installment in its “Images of America” series ($21.99, available in local bookstores and on-line). Ostensibly a photography book culled mainly from personal collections, Vermilion Parish also tells the story of the region through lengthy photo captions, chronicling the parish’s origins, its diverse population — identifiably Cajun now but sprung from other European as well as African- and Native American populations — its legendary figures and its laudable ability to adapt to modernity while maintaining and celebrating its folkways. Perrin is famous for staring down England’s Queen Elizabeth, but he’s also the president of the Council on the Development of French in Louisiana, and he’s donating royalties from the sale of Vermilion Parish to the Acadian Museum in Erath, which sponsors the Living Legends program honoring those who have made significant contributions to our local culture. — Walter Pierce

It’s not even debatable: Acadiana is home to the best hot sauces in the world, and now it’s time to add another local producer to the “best of” list. Lafayette-based Bayou Seasonings Company’s Cayenne Bayou Sauce is being dotted onto on everything from eggs to étouffée, gumbo and fried seafood (in some cases, poured generously onto everything), and its modest heat makes the taste buds sing. It’s the perfect blend of cayenne peppers, garlic, vinegar, and lemon and tomato juice and what must be the secret ingredient: cane sugar. Bayou Seasonings processes its sauces by hand and in small batches using high quality fresh ingredients. It packs them while hot to seal in the rich flavor. You can find the Cayenne Bayou Sauce on most local grocers’ shelves. The 5-ounce bottle retails for about $3.50. — Leslie Turk

Petticoat Pastries is the catering company that is responsible for all the delectable morsels that are not gelato at Carpe Diem! Gelato and Espresso. Petticoat is helmed by Amanda Malone, who also cooks for the Whole Wheatery Eatery in the Oil Center, and she makes possibly the tastiest pastries in town. After growing up in Lafayette, Malone attended the New England Culinary Institute and spent about a decade working in and around the New England and New York areas. Her pastry business has swelled since she’s been home the last few years, and this Pink Lemonade delicacy is a good example why. This cake is light with thick crystals of pink and yellow lemonade sugar crunching on top of a fluffy, fine pink cake. You know how lemonade concentrate tastes awesome but it isn’t a good idea to eat? Now you can, and this is better. The fresh pastries change daily at Carpe Diem so munch ’em while you can. — Anna Purdy

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